UKGC Says More AML Issues Will Result in Further Crackdown
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is not playing around when it comes to anti-money laundering issues and plans to crackdown hard on the gaming industry if problems continue.
For the past few years, the gambling industry in the United Kingdom has been subject to several changes are regulators try to ensure the industry is operating in a safe manner for players. Just recently, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released its Compliance and Enforcement Report. The regulator says that operators and other types of gaming entities are not focusing how they should on anti-money laundering procedures. If a change is not seen, the regulator plans to crackdown even further on the industry.
Changes are Needed
The report provides insight into the casework of the UKGC within the financial year. It covers areas that the industry needs to work on, in this case, anti-money laundering. During the 2020-21 financial years, the group suspended licensing for more than five operators and revoked personal management licensing due to issues involving regulations.
On top of that, 15 businesses were fined and statements issues for over $42 million. This was the highest amount of fines ever issued by the UKGC in one year’s time. In the report, the commission found that social responsibility and anti-money laundering top the list as major problems within the industry. These are two weak areas that the UKGC wants operators to focus on.
Common issues connected to anti-money laundering regulations include operators relying too much on third-party provides for due diligence checks. Identification checks for consumers are also delayed and there seems to be a lack of planning when it comes to risk assessment.
Some operators received criticism for vaguely referencing to risk assessments such as stating that Know Your Customer checks and customer monitoring were completed but did not provide information to back it up.
Severe Action May be Taken in the Future
The UKGC is not playing around when it comes to change within the gaming industry. The commission said that if operators do not take the recommendations seriously, then severe action may be taken. The regulator is not going to tolerate ‘recidivist behaviors towards compliance’. Operators must follow all regulations in order to maintain licensing.
It seems that along with fines, the commission may be leaning towards removing licensing if operators do not follow protocols. During the GambleAware Annual Conference, UKGC interim CEO Andrew Rhodes stated that the regulatory posture of the region has changed due to too many incidents of operator failure.
The industry is not near to driving players to the black market, but regulators want to ensure that the legal industry is operating on the up and up, and ensuing player protections. After this recent report, it seems that regulators have had enough and are not going to take any lax behavior from operators from now on.
In his speech during the conference, Rhodes pointed out that the Commission should only have to work on licensing matters and not worry about the enforcement of regulations, however, that is not possible due to the little compliance of operators.
It will be interesting to see what changes the UKGC comes up with to ensure that operators follow anti-money laundering compliance. Will operators step up and make the necessary changes to ensure compliance? Or will we see the commission fining operators and even pulling licensing due to minimal compliance concern? Only time will tell what will happen as the UKGC prepares to take action against those who do not comply.